[Siguse-l] Message 3 - The Literature: ARIST Chapters on Information Behavior

Jenna Hartel jenna.hartel at utoronto.ca
Tue Aug 23 05:11:57 EDT 2011

Dear SIG-USErs,

This post continues to address "The Literature" of our research area and 
celebrates a second major resource: the /Annual Review of Information 
Science and Technology/ <http://www.asis.org/Publications/ARIST/> 
(/ARIST/) literature reviews of information behavior.

A special and important reference genre, the /literature review/ is a 
survey of publications in a research area that summarizes major themes, 
developments, and findings. Literature reviews are time and effort 
saving devices for readers and the capstone of Shera and Egan's 
"bibliographic pyramid" (1952) that underlies academic knowledge 
production. The authors of literature reviews are typically seasoned 
experts in a specialty or energetic younger scholars who use their 
dissertation literature review as a point of departure.

I have fond memories of my early days as a doctoral student at UCLA and 
diving headlong into/ARIST/ chapters, eager to "get my mind around" the 
information behavior literature. Each chapter proved to be a snapshot of 
information behavior scholarship in its day. As I moved longitudinally 
through the /ARIST/ series, I was able to make out the contours, 
evolution, and personality of the information behavior domain.

In his textbook on information behavior, Donald Case (2006, 238-243) 
provides a great overview of /ARIST /chapters. //He states that /ARIST/ 
is "the main vehicle by which interested scholars kept abreast of 
research on information behavior" (p. 239). Still, he critically 
observes that the series is a real "patchwork" with "redundant" coverage 
and "underdetermination" of relevant documents (p. 241); further, he 
asserts that each review is not standardized but shaped by the 
predilections of the author. Case also notes that the early /ARIST 
/chapters (1966-1990) focus on "information behavior" as a whole and 
later iterations target narrower topics as the speciality matured and 
diversified. (For a handy listing of early /ARIST/ chapters from Case's 
textbook, click here <http://www.jennahartel.com/arist-table.html>.)

Certain /ARIST /chapters mark important advances in scholarship that 
devotees of information behavior should know. Paisely (1968) introduced 
the idea of information behavior within several nested social 
/contexts/; the same approach was rediscovered decades later and became 
a mantra and banner over the "information seeking in context" movement 
and conference (ISIC <http://informationr.net/isic/>). A spirited 
chapter by Dervin & Nilan (1986) was a call to action to focus on the 
human information user (versus the information system) and is probably 
the most highly cited work in the information behavior literature. More 
recently, Pettigrew, Fidel and Bruce's (2001) contribution captures the 
increased methodological sophistication and diversity in our community. 
The latest comprehensive /ARIST/ chapter on information behavior is a 
mammoth one by Fisher and Julien (2009), which invited the research 
community (via this mailing list) to nominate works for inclusion.

All SIG-USErs: Please share your thoughts on the information behavior 
chapters in ARIST. It would be especially interesting to hear from 
chapter authors: Brenda? Paul? Karen? Heidi? Others?

Thanks to Sarah and Lynn for stimulating responses to last week's 
posting. Going forward, we consider another fine gateway into the 
literature: Donald Case's (2006) information behavior textbook /Looking 
for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and 
Behavior 2^nd ed./ 

Jenna Hartel


Shera, J. & Egan, M. (1952). Foundations of a theory of bibliography, 
/Library Quarterly/, 22, 125-137.

Jenna Hartel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto
140 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mail.asis.org/pipermail/siguse-l/attachments/20110823/374f325f/attachment.html 

More information about the Siguse-l mailing list